Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool, World Museum
Male Portrait Bust
Portrait bust of a man. The head is unbroken from the bust.
The turn of the head to the right and slightly upwards creates a distant yet serious expression for its subject. The front hair falls onto the forehead in well-defined, crispy locks – of which three are prominent. The moustache and beard hair is almost straight on the chin, but is arranged in short curly locks on the cheeks. The face does not show much individuality and has a small mouth and thin lips, the eyes are lying deeply and the areas formed by the forehead and the cheeks are flat. Jane Fjefer noted that the crispy locks at the front of the hair, the plasticity and the contrast with the back of the hair dated the portrait to Hadrianic times. The face also resembles portraits of Hadrian while the shape of the bust with the wide lower termination which includes the breast, the fully executed shoulders, and the short arms suggests late Trajanic/early Hadrianic period. The bust is deeply hollowed out on the back, following the countour of the body and the support of the bust is light and elegant. The naked bust represents according to Fejfer a tradition that goes back to the Hellenistic times, giving the portrait a heroic or divine quality. This kind of bust became popular from the early Julio-Claudian dynasty up until the 3rd century AD. Together with the balteus/paluntamentum type of bust the naked bust also became popular with certain individuals from the Flavian to the Hadrianic, early Antonine period. The nose, ears, and a patch of hair on the right hand side of the head have been noticeably restored, and there are small impact holes on the face.